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Customer Discussions > Digital Camera forum

Help me find a fast action camera... PLEASE? (for Kids shots)

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Showing 1-25 of 33 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 9, 2012 9:06:01 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 9, 2012 11:42:08 AM PST
Jes says:
I am so tired of reading reviews, and thought maybe someone can just give me advice based on MY needs. I am just a mom that loves taking pictures of her fast moving toddlers! (not a photographer, just avid picture taker.) I have a Nikon D90 that I LOVE. It's fast, so I can capture their quick changing expressions from laughter to tears (in seconds). I had a canon elph 3 years ago, and some kind of olympus point and shoot when the flash died on the canon. The elph wasn't quite fast enough, and the olympus always seemed to make my blonde son, more of a red head (strawberry at least).

Anyway, to my point, I am looking for a pocketable/pursable camera that will capture colors accurately, and is pretty quick at capturing the image. It needs to take the first picture fast, and let me take more pictures quickly. I am not a fan of burst mode, basically because you have to turn it on. I just want to pick up the camera and take lots of pictures. If you don't have kids, it takes like 20 shots to luck out with one where they are both smiling and one doesn't have a finger up the nose or some equally picture ruining action going on.... I want something for use when I don't feel like lugging the D90, 70 pounds of kids, and a diaper bag! So, small camera, fast action... I don't think the zoom will make a difference, since I can just use my SLR if I need better zooming capability for some special outting/event. My price range is open, since I am willing to pay whatever it takes to get the best pics I can of my kids. But, to help you help me, let's say anywhere between $400 to around $1000. Can you help.... PLEASE???

Thanks in advance for your advice!!


Posted on Mar 9, 2012 9:21:07 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 9, 2012 9:31:17 AM PST
Tom Martin says:
Jessica, I don't think you'll be happy with the performance of any point and shoot.
The Nikon D3100 is smaller than your D90 and the D3100 weighs 1/3 less than your D90.
Even with the kit lens the D3100 should still out perform any point and shoot.
I'd recommend you get a Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens, along with a Fotodiox Neoprene Zoom Camera Cover Sleeve/Travel Case for Nikon D3100 and toss it in your purse.

Posted on Mar 9, 2012 9:34:50 AM PST
Jes says:
Thanks Tom. I half expected to hear that... I just hadn't expected it to be the first reply!

I'll check it out - in the meantime, anyone else... please feel free to weigh in!

Posted on Mar 9, 2012 9:48:40 AM PST
k. sandmann says:
The canon s100 is at the very top of the point and shoot category. It has the best performance and is still very small. Canon PowerShot S100 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide-Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black) (OLD MODEL)
of course you are not going to get dslr performance but your asking to get as close as possible so that's the fast answer.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 10:10:32 AM PST
Not going to hear (read) anything different from here...

Regardless of increases in processor ability, contrast detect focusing -- used by P&S, micro-4/3rds, and Sony NEX -- is going to be slower than an SLR phase detect focus of the same generation. P&S cameras typically have slow wake-up cycles (since most of them collapse the lens, you have to wait for the lens to extend to shooting length, then adjust the zoom setting since they typically reset to wide-angle after sleep mode). A good SLR can wake up in the time a P&S takes to focus.

Unless you buy the rare high-end P&S (Canon G-series, for example) you won't have an eye-level viewfinder. That means holding the camera out in front of you to compose on a small LCD panel. A rather unstable position (P&S pretty much need image stabilization to compensate for the poor stability required to see the LCD).

Sony's pellix mirror models have the fast focus, but they steal a fraction of a stop of light from the main sensor, and use an electronic viewfinder of limited pixels for a finder -- you have to rely on the camera to focus since the low pixel count can mask unsharpness (unless you can magnify the view to sensor resolution, at which point you may only see the subject's eye in a portrait)

P&S work great when you have lots of lighting, and subjects that aren't changing distance (watch the commercials -- if they are shooting a dog running on a beach, the dog is moving left to right [or right to left], where the distance isn't changing, AND is far enough away that depth of field covers some 10 feet in front to some 30 feet behind the dog; you don't see a P&S being shown shooting a dog making an attack run at the photographer <G>).

Posted on Mar 9, 2012 10:43:10 AM PST
k. sandmann says:
Why don't you take a look at some of the s100 reviews and see if you like it and have any particular questions?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 11:26:07 AM PST
Tom Martin says:
I was thinking, another big advantage with a D3100 is you are going to be comfortable with the Nikon interface. There won't be lost shots fiddling with setting up this mode or that mode on an unfamiliar interface.

One word of warning if you get the Neoprene cover, use the gray side out, and carry your camera in your diaper bag, don't throw away your camera thinking it's a soiled diaper ;-)

Posted on Mar 9, 2012 11:39:56 AM PST
Jes says:
You guys are helpful, and really freaking funny!!

Posted on Mar 9, 2012 6:29:06 PM PST
Vicki says:
I use a sony Cyber-shot 7.2 mega pixels pocket size camera to take pics of kids and get great shots. It is small fits in a pocket and has a quick set....for different types of shots. It is very versital! Even a setting to long as the subject isn't picture but the minute a smile starts to form it snaps the pic. Great fun for the kids too. All about the don't smile now...the camera is watching! This is the second Sony Cyber-shot I have had over many years. Both still work great but I am now looking for another Sony that is bigger and more advanced.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2012 6:36:34 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 11, 2012 1:20:51 AM PST
Neo Lee says:
Good candidates for you:

* Panasonic GF3 12MP M4/3 with 3-Inch Touchscreen LCD and 14-42mm Zoom Lens (Red)

Having a big sensor only about half the size of a APS-C DSLR's sensor, Panasonic GF3 can bump up its ISO higher to attain a faster shutter speed--Kids seldom stay still right so you're gonna need to shoot at a fast shutter speed. Photo quality is pretty acceptable up to ISO 3200.

It can change lens too. The kit lens is rather big and long, even though not as big as the D90 18-55mm kit lens. I highly recommend the Panasonic G 20mm f/1.7 Pancake Lens for M4/3 Cameras. f/1.7 will allow you to get an even faster shutter speed (about 4 times as fast compared to the kit lens). Combination of this Panasonic GF3 and this 20mm f/1.7 lens makes it a more portable camera. It will fit in a jacket pocket or in a purse. It won't easily fit in a jean pocket though.

Panasonic GF3 does autofocus based on image contrast. Generally contrast-based autofocus is slow but it is lightning fast on Panasonic GF3. The coolest feature is its LCD touch focus, where you can touch on where you want to focus and the camera will quickly focus on it. Now activate focus tracking, the camera will try to refocus on the selected area/subject when your kid moves. This autofocus feature works in both pictures and videos.

Watch this 3 min video:

And this:

You can expect photos quality something like mine (same 20mm f/1.7 lens but different camera though):

* Canon PowerShot S95 10 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD

Canon S95 is premium pocketable P&S camera. It performs better in low light than most other P&S compact cameras do. Focusing is not as fast as Panasonic GF3's let alone a DSLR's speed; however, S95 captures in deeper depth of field so your images will be sharp even if focus is off. There's no need to get focus too precisely. Canon S100 is the successor to S95 but it doesn't perform better, and in fact S100 owners report to the contrary.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2012 5:09:35 PM PDT
GG says:
Check out the two new Nikon 1 series ILCs. The V1 has a viewfinder, is bigger and more expensive. The J1 is smaller, lighter and has no viewfinder. They both have some of the fastest autofocus in the business. It is a hybrid which consists of both the phase and contrast. The camera decides which one to use depending on the shooting conditions. I have the J1 with the 10-30 kit lens. It can easily fit in my handbag. The sharpness and colors out of the camera are very good, and it is very easy to use. With its very fast autofocus, the J1 rarely gives me a blurred photo. The video is also very sharp with excellent color.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2012 5:41:05 PM PDT
k. sandmann says:
Yep some problems apparently with the LCD occasionally. Though if you did get the S100 you could just return it until you find a good one. From what I hear if its bad you will know when you 1st use it the color will be way off.

Posted on Mar 11, 2012 7:26:31 PM PDT
Jes says:
@Sandman.. I was surprised at the s100 reviews, but did end up with the same impression, that there are just some bad ones out there. Someone at work has it and raved over the picture quality. Hoping to get him to bring it in so I can play with it!

I tried going to best buy to try some cameras out, but seems like they only stock mostly cheaper cameras. They didnt even have a smaller lens for my nikon! I'm thinking maybe I will just head down to the city to b&h so I can try out the contenders. The Lumix gf3 actually sounds fast... The only bad reviews seem to be on price or one of the lens types.

This may be a stupid question, but is the something in the specs to determine how fast one camera is compared to another? I had been looking at fps on the burst mode, but realized that wasn't the answer...

And thanks everyone for your input... It really is awesome of you to help!! Much thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2012 8:41:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 11, 2012 8:43:40 PM PDT
something in the specs to determine how fast one camera is compared to another

Sorry, no...

The manufacturers don't list: wake-up time, time to focus, time to shoot (from a focus).

Some old sites, that may or may not be fairly up-to-date are:
(out of date: nothing newer than the Canon EOS 40D [I'm familiar with Canon])
(P&S only, no SLRs -- has the S95) [Surprisingly, the S95 takes 50% longer to focus/shoot than the G12 that has the same sensor]

Posted on Mar 11, 2012 11:36:46 PM PDT
k. sandmann says:

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2012 8:17:48 AM PDT
If you are near New York City, then your best bet is to go to B&H or Adorama and talk to their staff. They can put every single camera we might suggest into your hands, they can speak with hands on knowlege, and they will have the best price you will find. Big Box stores don't have the camera stock, or the expertise to really answer your questions. They have been instructed to reccomend this product or that product, and you may get lucky and encounter someone with more knowlege, but there's no assurance of that, and if they don't stock the right answer, the big box staffer can't reccomend it. If you can't find a good answer on-line, I always reccomend going to a real camera store, if you have one locally. If you are near NYC, adorama or B&H. Northern virginia the answer is Ace photo, and that's the one I reccomend locally.

When you ask about the specs to determine "how fast" a camera was, what are you asking about? The FPS tells you how many frames per second, that's one measure of how fast. You can find out the power on time, or in some cases the delay between pressing the button and taking the picture, or the fastest shutter speed the camera is capable of (usually not important at all, they all can go fast enough for most purposes) or a variety of other speed related details about any given camera. I would guess you mean how quickly does it take a picture when you hit the button. The tricky thing there is that answer is not set in stone. Is the lighting good, did you pre-focus, will your camera take a picture if it doesn't think it has focus, etc. If a number is available for that, it's a best case number, and you may not know how to get that best case response from the camera. But again, if you can go to a real camera store, not a big box, they can answer your question, hands on, and get it right.

Posted on Mar 12, 2012 9:22:19 AM PDT
Jes says:
Very helpful Paul.. It's a hike to the city. But it will probably end up being faster than my research!

So anymore suggestions on which cameras to include in the lineup... Keep on posting them! At a minimum I will be picking up some accessories for the d90

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

Posted on Mar 12, 2012 10:42:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 12, 2012 10:43:00 AM PDT
k. sandmann says:
Lucky dog! I am much to far away ( near Chicago) to be able shop in person. Its all mail order for me.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2012 1:37:56 PM PDT
While you are there, get a camera bag :) No web page can tell you if you like a camera bag or not. My wife still gives me a hard time about the time I dragged all my gear into the bag room at my local camera store and spent two hours trying bags out, but I haven't had to buy another one since then.

Posted on Mar 12, 2012 1:42:49 PM PDT
Jes says:
Lol... That is totally something I would do.. And something my hubby would make fun of me for having done!

Posted on Mar 12, 2012 3:22:42 PM PDT
Jes says:
The online chat guy at B&H recommended the Nikon p300.. He said it would be faster than the s100. And it's only $280... May be worth checking out.

Re: p300: "It has a very wide aperture, that makes it great for low light, and quick to focus. It can take about 7 pictures a second, and 1080p video. It also has excellent image stabilization, and a great LCD. The S100 from Canon is also a very good camera. It has a larger sensor, and support for RAW. It is also slower at about 2 pictures a second. Both cameras have full manual exposure control, so you can be creative just like with your DSLR."

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2012 3:45:14 PM PDT
Tom Martin says:
Hope he's not more interested in clearing out a discontinued camera (replaced by the P310) than steering you to what would work best for you.

Posted on Mar 12, 2012 4:04:03 PM PDT
Jes says:
Yeah I saw that... I didn't say I was on a budget, so I was surprised to see the 310... But then I thought since it hasn't been released yet, he was just telling me the best of what's currently available. And figured I'd want the cheaper model, over latest and greatest?! Either way, it's one (or two) more fore the list.

I ordered a 35mm lens for my camera... So we'll see if I even ever end up with a small camera! I ordered the black rapids womens version sling too : ) Hoping the list helps someone else with my same needs/dilemma too. The 300 does have very favorable reviews. So..... Something to consider.

Posted on Mar 12, 2012 4:28:09 PM PDT
Tom Martin says:
I was thinking neither one was best, but, given your questions about the Canon S90/100 he might have been lead in that direction. You need to make it very clear that performance comes before size, or you will most likely be disappointed in the end. Also, keep in mind your dSLR experience may make using any camera without a viewfinder, less than optimum.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 13, 2012 4:54:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 13, 2012 4:59:23 AM PDT
Neo Lee says:

The B&H chat guy is wrong. P300 has that smaller 1/2.3" sensor, while S100 has the larger 1/1.6" (maybe 1/1.7"). P300 may have largest aperture at f/1.8 but its sensor is a stop smaller.

P300 can't save RAW files either.

It's a lil bigger than S100. I
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Discussion in:  Digital Camera forum
Participants:  12
Total posts:  33
Initial post:  Mar 9, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 28, 2013

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